By Kim Ross
A Keota man who took on the challenge of the Cavanal Killer on Saturday touched more hearts than he knew as his determination impressed several people.
Clinton Allen, 43, of Keota began walking a few months ago in an attempt to lose weight and regain his health. Little did he know when he began, he would trek the five miles in a race up the highest hill.
â€śI took the race at the last minute,â€ť Allen said. â€śI saw it the night before on the news and decided it was something I could do to test myself. A lot of times you compete against someone else. This time I was only competing against myself.â€ť
Allen registered at the last minute as the 416th participant and at 9:30 a.m. began his climb.
When word of Allen's determination spread among volunteers at the race, a group descended the hill to rally with Allen at the quarter-mile (remaining) mark.
â€śSeeing the group coming to walk with me really made me feel good. They were a blessing sent from God,â€ť Allen said. â€śOnce I decided I was gonna do it [the race], I never thought about quitting, but the group gave me a lot of emotional support to boost my determination.â€ť
Allen said the walk was one of the longest and toughest he has completed, and both pain and pride accompanied him the next day.
The walk was not only a personal moment for him, but a gift to his mother.
"My mother couldn't be there," he said. "She was taking care of her mother, but this [race] was a Mother's Day gift to her and she is very proud of me and what I did.â€ť
Another case of community support reached Allen when Poteau Chief of Police Stephen Fruen offered him a return ride down the hill.
â€śClintonâ€™s determination to finish the Killer walk was inspiring," Fruen said. "He showed true integrity by declining several offers for a ride to the top. He set out with a goal to finish, regardless of the cost. He made an impact that will stay with us forever.â€ť
Not only was Allen proud to share his determination with those at the finish line, he also shared heartfelt words of wisdom to all.
â€śLife's not about how hard you can hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward,â€ť Allen said.